Lesson 2: Musical motifs

Children learn what a motif is and how to identify one, before playing and incorporating motifs into the Road Building Song.

Before the lesson

Download classroom resources

Learning objectives

  • To understand what a musical motif is

National curriculum

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasing aural memory
  • Play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices (and playing instruments) with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression
  • Appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and from great composers and musicians

Success criteria

Cross-curricular links

Attention grabber

Main event


Pupils needing extra support: Might benefit from having access to a tablet or computer which allows them to replay each song multiple times to give them extra time to hear motifs.


Pupils working at greater depth: Should use the Activity: Roman motifs extension sheet if the Activity: Roman motifs is too easy. Should be encouraged to use their own instruments for the activity if they are having instrumental lessons.

Wrapping up

Assessing pupils' progression and understanding


Created by:
Elizabeth Stafford,  
Music specialist
After a brief spell as an opera singer, Liz embarked on a 20-year career in music education, teaching at early years, primary and secondary. After Liz had her daughter, she started her own business Music Education Solutions® Limited, helping teachers…
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